Have you ever looked back on something you achieved and breathed a sigh of relief? Maybe smiled with wonder?
The first time I went on FOX5 San Diego, I was praying just to get through it. More precisely, I wanted to make those who had set up the interview glad they did. So I practiced and prepared, prayed and hoped for the best.
Phew! I got through it. Even cracked a joke or two with the lovely Erica Fox. As I was leaving the studio, a man's voice called out from below the balcony:
"Gina, are you still up there?"
By the time I pulled into my office parking space maybe 20 minutes later, the station had invited me back for the following Friday. Was I interested in being a weekly guest? Though I can't repeat what came out of my mouth, it went something like Holy moly!
That was May 8, 2015, and I've been doing weekly or biweekly segments ever since. Who would have thought?
10 Lessons You Can Learn at My Expense
Whether you're on the news, giving a live speech/performance, interviewing for a job or simply running a meeting, here are a few reminders for how to make the endeavor even more successful:
- Wear brighter clothing. We all tend to look better and feel better in vibrant colors. And if this applies to you, I would also recommend brighter lipstick! No matter how much you layer it on, your old drugstore-variety can all but disappear, especially on camera. My new go-to brand: NARS. Pricey, but worth it.
- Set out your complete outfit two nights before. It's one less thing to worry about, and it will free you to focus on more complex tasks.
- Get your own earpiece. If you're going to be doing something repeatedly, give yourself the tools to succeed. I'll tell you, my purchase from CustomEarpiece.com was money well invested. Knock on wood, it hasn't failed me yet. What tools would add to your success and your confidence?
- Don't just practice, do a dress rehearsal. The more you can simulate the real thing, the more effective your practice will be.
- Double your allotted travel time. If it normally takes you fifteen minutes to get to the interview, meeting, etc., give yourself closer to thirty. Better to get there early and relaxed than to beat yourself up (which you will) if you're running late, caught in traffic, or having trouble finding parking. And always, always leave time for a restroom stop.
- Practice vocal variety. If I don't consciously add color and texture to my words, I end up sounding like William F. Buckley Jr.—or Lilith on "Cheers." How to add vocal variety: In private, before showtime, say something simple such as, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain." Then say it in a high pitch, a low tone, and several tones in between. The more exaggerated, the better. Then when you speak normally, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much more animated you sound!
- Let your host/audience get a word in edgewise. Put another way, resist the urge to cram in everything you know. This applies to everything from TV interviews to private conversations. To paraphrase Craig Valentine, when you squeeze too much information in, you squeeze your audience out. Keep it conversational.
- Smile more than you thought possible. Unless it would be inappropriate, beam like a Christmas tree! I don't know about you, but even when I do this (or think I'm doing this), the smile that comes through is maybe a notch past The Mona Lisa.
- Don't listen to armchair critics. Listen to the people who hired or invited you. They'll tell you what you need to know. And frankly, they've got your back a lot more than your critics. And continually thank the folks who hired you. How? By being flexible, reliable, enthusiastic and prepared.
- Cut yourself some slack. If this were easy, everyone would do it. We tend to exaggerate our gaffes instead of simply making mental notes for next time. Once you've learned the lesson, let yourself move on.
Finally, as my mother taught me long ago: Take the focus off yourself. If you want to lower your stress while improving performance, focus on putting theother person at ease. May the above reminders help us all to do just that.
P.S. What reminders would you add to this list? Hop on over to my Facebook page and share your thoughts!
Special thanks to FOX5 San Diego and particularly Raoul Martinez, the "mystery" voice who complimented a nervous rookie back in May 2015, and whom I now have the privilege of interviewing with, every other Friday at 7:40 am.